Hero World Challenge DFS picks 2022: Why the Tom Kim hype is not overblown
Though Tiger Woods’ WD takes away some of the luster of the 2022 Hero World Challenge, it’s also the last PGA Tour DFS event of the year, so fantasy-golf players will embrace the week nonetheless.
The course, Albany Resort, has hosted this event since 2015 and generally serves up plenty of birdies. The winning score since moving here has averaged just over 19-under par, which was the mark Viktor Hovland won with last year. Birdie-makers should be the primary target this week, as the wide fairways on this resort-like course will yield plenty of low numbers.
Here are the players who have my interest—and those who certainly don’t—this week at the 2022 Hero World Challenge.
Golfers I'm Definitely Playing
Jon Rahm ($10,700 DraftKings | $11,500 FanDuel)
If you’re not paying attention to the DP World Tour, you’ve missed Rahm’s two victories in his past three starts. Combined with a T-4 in Congaree, he has four consecutive top-four finishes across the two biggest tours on the planet. His short game has been much improved, and he’s carrying a scorching hot putter into the Bahamas, where he won in 2018 and finished runner-up in 2019.
Viktor Hovland ($8,700 DraftKings | $10,300 FanDuel)
The defending champion has been playing well, earning a top-25 finish in each of his past four starts and in six of his past eight. He’s flashed the upside with top-10 finishes at the BMW PGA Championship, ZOZO Championship and WWT Championship at Mayakoba. His short-game metrics are much-improved, and he won’t give up his title easily.
Billy Horschel ($6,100 DraftKings | $8,500 FanDuel)
It’s been seven years since Horschel last played the Hero World Challenge, and this invite was well-deserved. Horschel has been solid all over the globe, finishing T-9 at the BMW PGA, T-10 at the Alfred Dunhill and T-7 at the CJ Cup, all within his past four starts. Over his past 36 rounds, Horschel has gained strokes in each strokes-gained category, making him an intriguing option this week.
Golfers I Might Play
Tony Finau ($9,300 DraftKings | $11,000 FanDuel)
Newfound confidence for Finau has elevated his game to new levels. He has three wins in his past seven starts, but this elite level play goes back much further than that. Over the past 50 rounds, he’s gaining 2.47 strokes per round, the best mark of anyone in this field, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Only Finau and Rahm have eclipsed the 2.0 strokes gained mark during that stretch.
Sam Burns ($7,200 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)
Burns withdrew from the Houston Open after playing 31 holes and losing 6.26 strokes putting. Despite only playing 31 holes, that was the first time Burns lost more than two full strokes putting. That’ll be fresh on the minds of DFS players, but I’d argue that’s an outlier and unlikely to happen again. It was just one start prior that he finished T-7 at the CJ Cup and gained over nine strokes with the flatstick. Burns will be fun and has plenty of firepower to win this event.
Tom Kim ($6,500 DraftKings | $9,400 FanDuel)
The next 12 months will be telling for Kim, who has won twice in his past six starts and has taken the tour by storm. We will learn a lot about the state of his game, but what we’ve seen so far is nothing short of amazing. Over the past 36 rounds, he’s gaining 1.05 strokes on approach, the best mark of anyone in this field, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. During that same stretch, he’s both the sixth-best player from tee-to-green and the sixth-best player on the putting surfaces. That’s a formidable combination at this price.
Golfers I'm Fading
Justin Thomas ($10,200 DraftKings | $10,700 FanDuel)
Thomas has been struggling with the putter, losing 16.98 strokes with the flatstick over his past seven measured events. That’s concerning but not too concerning because Thomas has always struggled in that facet of his game. I’m more worried about his approach play, which was once the best in the world. Over his past six measured starts, he’s actually lost 2.17 strokes on approach, which is jarring for a golfer like Thomas. It’s fair to say he’s slumping, and I’m not ready to pay the price.
Jordan Spieth ($7,500 DraftKings | $9,100 FanDuel)
Spieth is the “X-factor” here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win or finish dead last. In fact, he has actually accomplished both here at Albany with his last-place finish last year and victory in 2014. This has been the worst putting year of Spieth’s career, and the rest of his game is marred in inconsistency. I don’t know what to expect from Spieth, and I’m not entirely convinced he knows either.
Kevin Kisner ($6,000 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel)
I’ll admit, the minimum price for Kisner is enticing, but it feels like a trap. Now with Tiger Woods’ WD, Kisner is the only player in the field who is losing strokes over the past 50 rounds. He’s lost six-plus strokes ball-striking three times in his past five starts and heads to Albany, which has been lengthened another 100 yards from last year. It just feels like disaster is lurking around every corner for Kisner.
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Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.